Despite promises to expand press freedom in exchange for hosting the Olympics, China has resumed blocking certain foreign Chinese-language news web sites, AP reported. The Chinese websites of Voice of America, BBC, and Hong Kong-based Ming Pao and Asiaweek have been inacessible from the mainland China since early December, according to Reporters Without Borders, a press rights group. "The pretense of liberalization is over," the group said. A Foreign Ministry spokesman defended China’s censorship earlier this week, noting that some web sites had broken mainland law by recognizing Taiwan’s independence. Analysts believe that the new restrictions are being implemented to contain social instability during the current economic downturn. The censorship is part of a clampdown on other expressions of dissent, including the imprisonment of some authors of the online "Charter 08" manifesto, signed by some 300 writers and academics who called for greater freedoms and an end to one-party rule.
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